Spanish 2: Preterite and Imperfect!!!!?

1. I walked to the park. (caminaba or caminé)

2. She ate the strawberries. (comía or comio)

3. I talked to my teacher while she was writing. (hablaba or hablo) (escribia or escribio)

I'm REALLY stuck with the imperfect and preterite! Please explain! Any help would be SUPER appreciated!!

Update:

And yes, I know some verbs have accents on them. I didn't put them so I can save time :)

1 Answer

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  • 8 years ago
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    1 and 2 can be either, depending on the surrounding context. Only 3 has just one correct form: both are imperfect because the talking and writing were going on at the same time.

    Here is how adding more context determines which aspect to choose:

    I walked(1) to the park. Once there, I waited for the bus.

    1) preterit because the walk finished before the waiting started -- a series of actions.

    I walked(2) to the park. Along the way I saw a bird and greeted(3) a woman.

    2) imperfect because you might also say "I was walking to the park" - within the context of the walk,

    3) see and greet are a series of actions and again, they would be in the preterit. they occur during the indefinite time period in which the walking occured.

    She ate(4) the strawberries. Then threw up.

    4) preterit because these are a series of actions.

    She ate(5) the strawberries. It didn't matter that her mother was watching.

    5) imperfect for the same reason as your #3 -- simultaneous actions

    As you can see it's a difficult subject. And the problem with questions like these on a test is that in some instances you can make a case for either the imperfect or preterit -- there's just not enough space available on the test to adequately set up the context that the teacher expects.

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